Motorists are sending letters of complaint to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in regard to high tolls and fines on the expressway, failing to realize that their own recklessness is the cause of the problem.
In no uncertain terms, the Vientiane to Vang Vieng Expressway is a godsend for tourism, for the economy, and for everyday Lao people who now have a safe, high-quality road – the first large-scale tollway of its kind in the country – to enjoy for travel and business between Vientiane and Vang Vieng.
And the road is set to be extended in the coming years, reaching Luang Prabang, and eventually the border with China itself.
The expressway has been perfectly surfaced, offering a smooth and comfortable ride at high speeds, cutting the travel time to Vang Vieng from four hours down to just one hour. It includes full signage and lighting, safety railing, fencing against animals, and a lengthy tunnel bored through an entire mountain, unlike anything ever seen before in Laos.
In short: 113 kilometers of pure driving bliss!
And yet, 30 accidents, including 16 deaths, were recorded on the road before it even officially opened. Can we blame the expressway contractor for this? Why were motorists using the road in the first place if it had not even been completed?
Meanwhile, cows and goats meandering across the expressway have become an everyday occurrence, causing utter mayhem. And yet social media users continue to blame the expressway contractor for this. It is plain to see that the expressway maintains fences along either side to keep people and animals out where possible. But why are the owners of livestock allowing their animals to roam freely anyway?
Less than a month after its official opening, motorists have begun to complain about the toll prices. They feel it is too expensive, and tolls should be adjusted.
One truck driver slammed into the side of a concrete barrier in Phonhong District, causing considerable damage, and was fined LAK five million for the incident. Despite his recklessness, he took to social media to complain that his fine was too high!
Another social media user admitted to driving straight through the toll booth without paying and was surprised when she received a fine. Surely, she must understand that driving on a private road without paying the toll is tantamount to theft!
Heavy fines are in place as a deterrent to prevent future offenses and to ensure everyone complies. Fines cannot be bargained like vegetables at the market.
This expressway cost USD 1.2 billion to construct. It should be treated with respect and those whose recklessness cause it damage, or who behave disrespectfully, should be rightfully punished.
In 2021, it is time for motorists to start taking responsibility for their actions on all roads across Laos, so that everyone else can drive safely and peaceably in accordance with the law.